The 1892 travel memoir by missionary nurse Kate Marsden, On Sledge and Horseback to the Outcast Siberian Lepers, is at first glance a remarkable testimony to Marsden’s 2,000 mile, ten-month journey across Russia and Siberia and back. The events Marsden narrates are so incredible, in fact, that since the time of the text’s publication, readers have questioned its truthfulness. After the Siberian journey and the publication of the memoir, Marsden enjoyed a brief period of fame in England and beyond, winning the approval of luminaries including Queen Victoria, W. T. Stead and the Empress of Russia. 1 But rumours surrounding her work, particularly the management of the money she collected for her leper hospital and challenges to the veracity of the memoir soon eclipsed her celebrity status. Furthermore, the memoir’s mixing of genres, changing objectives and focalizations all encode a textual version of the same unreliability that came to haunt Marsden’s character and reputation. I will turn later, and briefly, to the contested afterlife of Marsden’s memoir and the decline of her reputation, as what concerns this essay is the memoir itself. The prolific and contradictory objectives, voices and identities that constitute Marsden’s memoir command attention beyond their likely exaggerations. Rather than consider Marsden alone in accounting for the memoir’s textual incongruities, I relate them to the contradictory values and objectives of professional Victorian nursing as well.